Friday, December 23, 2011

All tuckered out

It feels like all I've been doing lately is working, hunting up furniture and putting the aforementioned furniture together... and doing Christmas shopping.

The new house is still full of unpacked boxes. I've yet to find a single day to actually get to unpacking anything but the essentials.

And now, I'm back down the coast for Christmas with those boxes still unpacked. I think I've driven nearly three thousand kilometres since the beginning of December; the car has been a real trooper with all the boxes and things weighing her down. Still, the muffler seems to be growling a little louder with every trip. She definitely needs some extra tlc over the next few days.

I've also been carrying around Lynn Viehl's lastest book, without managing to look at the first page. It always seemed I've have some downtime to read, but no. There's always been something getting in the way.

Tomorrow, I still have things to do to get ready for Christmas day and for visitors. But I'm carving out time, damn it! I've brought books with me and I'm going to read them - my visitors can look after themselves for a few hours. We are, after all, at the beach and lo, it is Summer!

Monday, December 12, 2011


It's been a tough couple of weeks, with a new job and problems with the townhouse we've yet to move into. Between commuting, working and racing down to the coast to pick up more stuff, I haven't had a lot of time to be online - no blogging from work, it's a secured location.

We've got a moving day... in the middle of the week, so I have to take a day off already.

I'm hoping that finally, finally, we'll be in the new place on the weekend. There's still so much to do before Christmas. I guess I'll be out hunting down the last of the prezzos this weekend.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

On the move

Okay, so I haven't had time to read, or do anything else.

Thursday afternoon - a quarter to five (end of the business day) - I recieved word that I'd found somewhere to live in Canberra; it's a rather nice townhouse. But I had 24 hours to sign the lease.

The nation's Capital, it should be noted, is a three hour drive away. With the aged parent, who isn't a morning person and packing up some essentials, we made the appointment at precisely 4 o'clock. I won't go into the all the nastie little details, but it took nearly an hour to complete the paperwork.

Of course, the Post Office needs three working days to sort the mail redirection and I won't be submitting the paperwork for that until I have the keys in my hot and sweaty little hand. Worse, my email account picked up a f*&$ing virus and I've had to write down and then delete all addresses. A group hug to all those who need to know will have to wait until I'm sure the virus is a gonna.

Getting an uplift of all the heavy furniture is the next project. I start the new job on Monday, so that's going to be epic. All I can say is that the Body Corporate had better suck it up and keep out of the way of the moving van.

So. Back to packing; I head back to Canberra tomorrow.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Over for another year

And so Nano is ending around the world for another year. Writers are squeeing over their 50,000 words and wallowing in the knowledge that they did the job. Some have done an outstanding job; others, not so much.

But now what? Oh, right: send it out to an agent/editor/publisher.

Three words of advice: Don't. Do. It!

While it's an achievement to finish the 50k, agents/editors/publishers around the world are also busy - buying up crates of their alcoholic beverage of choice in preparation for the influx of 'Nano novels'.

If you're not a fan of the Fake Editor Twitter, here are a few gems recently posted:

I have no fewer than 15 obvious books in my Inbox. All are just over 50k in length, all clearly unedited.

 If your query starts “Here’s the novel I finished writing last night,” it doesn’t matter what you say next. I've stopped reading.

 "Dear editor, please consider my fiction novel of 50,006 words that I swear isn't a NaNo book" doesn't inspire much confidence.

 “Look at me, I wrote a novel in a month!” No, honey. You typed 50,000 words in a month. Not the same thing.

The truth is in the last comment. Yes, you've written 50,000 words and that's great, but that's all you've done. 50,000 words do not make a book. It's three-quarters of a first draft.

The National Novel Writing Competition level of 50k was set as an achievable goal, a method to teach consistency in writing, a test bed to see if you've got what it takes to sit down everyday and write a minimum of 1,667 words. Using the word 'novel' is a bit of a misnomer, unless you're writing for young adults, and even then, writers like J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins produce books with more words.

I'm not criticising, Nano is a wonderful tool and I use it with ferocity. But I also know 50k doesn't make a book, it makes a damned good start on one. I write a minimum of two books at least 80k and if I have time, a third. I let them sit and then EDIT and RE-WRITE along with the bitching and moaning about why I thought that scene, that character, those conversations were a good idea.

People who finished the 50k deserve to celebrate - writing that much in a month is no easy task when there are so many other distractions and chores. Thousands of people have created new worlds, new characters, new stories to beguile the reader. If only we could harness such creative energy for other things...

December is a time for rest after the frantic race to the deadline, but it should also be a time for those who just made the 50k to examine whether the story is complete, whether the plots have been resolved and when the promise of the first chapter has been fulfilled by the last. And then finish it if not.

Me, I'm off to read a few books, like Anne McCaffrey and Lynn Viehl - oh, and do the housework that has been sadly neglected; and pack for the move.

Congrats to all who finished Nano, may it be the start of a long and productive career.